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Inkjet Reengineering by Collaboration

Many new inkjet production presses have been installed across all sectors of the print industry in the last five years. The overriding reason they are installed is because they print faster at a lower overall cost than toner and offset. Astute print operations have leveraged inkjet platforms to reengineer applications from beginning to end to enable new applications that are more than cheaper and faster. They are better. Better for the end user, better use of content and images and better from a production perspective. I am going to share a compelling inkjet reengineering success story.

Toppan Merrill has many long-standing financial services clients that trust them with complex print, mail, fulfillment applications that contain personalized data.

Production Challenge

I recently spoke with Karen Holliday a director running the Toppan Merrill print fulfillment facility in Ohio. She shared the process when one of their clients asked them to increase the volume of a complex daily job. In this case the production team was restricted with meeting daily SLAs and the current volume of work. She knew they could not say yes to more volume and still meet the client’s need for turnaround without some changes.

The production team was challenged with a daily customized book for a client selling pension management services. The original oversized wire-o book finished size was 9.25x11.75” and was designed around a rear cover that served as a pocket folder to accommodate variable black and white print on demand documents that sales agents could add. The book included plan level personalized components, plan type customization of pre-printed forms, and static SKU items. The print on demand, collation, punching and matching of the various components was managed with a quality control ID for the order. And quality control was critical to maintain 100% accuracy due to the nature of the product and prospective clients receiving the books.

Reengineering by Collaboration

It takes a team to reengineer an application and a multi-step workflow. The production team wanted to say yes to the additional daily volume. But they knew it was going to be extremely difficult to manage all the steps, maintain the level of quality control and ensure on-time production. The production team began to make suggestions to sales, client services and IT to streamline the content of the book to eliminate the manual steps for finishing.

Eliminate Touchpoints

Through internal collaboration with production, IT, client service and sales teams providing input a new book format was conceived. Toppan Merrill proposed a total redesign to a digital POD book leveraging their newly added cut-sheet inkjet printer and leveraged technology to intelligently drive the business logic to build the personalized book experience. The new design supported the clients’ sales team using a Web-based user interface to select the content and flow of the book. This resulted in a fully consolidated digital POD book and eliminated all hand collation.

Time is Money

Inkjet integration with content management allowed Toppan Merrill to propose a cost savings to the client that included a reduced by sheet size, eliminating storage and obsolescence costs of the offset printed pieces and removal of hand collation.

The new process supports managing all the book content for on demand creation. The result has delighted the client’ sales, marketing, and IT teams. The new book format supports a higher degree of content customization for each plan while eliminating the potential for errors during manufacturing.

More, Faster, Better

Although Toppan Merrill previously faced challenges producing 1,500 books per day in the original book environment, the reengineered book and production process increased capacity to 3,000 books per day. And average page count per book grew from 72 pages to more than 90 pages.


Cross-functional collaboration between, sales, client service, production, quality control, IT, and the clients’ marketing teams drove success for the reengineering process. The new process supports flexibility for effective content management. The client loves the improved appearance for the finished product. Toppan Merrill is thrilled to produce more books faster at a lower cost.

“Fully understanding the capabilities of inkjet while embracing partnership resulted in a team effort to create a new application. One that wowed the client, reduced cost, and streamlined the entire production process.”

Karen Holliday, Director Toppan Merrill.

This article was originally published on Printing Impressions.

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